“I was dead (Revelation 1:18).”
We were too late, but Joe was still warm. Seeing someone dead, in this case my brother, is very unnerving. They look asleep, like at any moment they’ll pull a Halloween prank and sit up, eyes wide, and shout, “BOO!” But he was really gone. That hurt, bad.
Later on, two funeral guys came and wheeled him out of his house with a flag draped over his body. That was so sad, so final, and so unstoppable. Two strangers took him, and Joe had no say in it. We stood and watched. Just watched…and cried. Death won.
Jesus watched a dead man get carried out too, but He brought him back to life (Luke 7:11-17). I think on that in a more personal way now. He was dead. Not many people can say, “Remember when I was dead?” But…now…we all have a choice, a way out, because Jesus is “the firstborn from the dead (Colossians 1:18).” Death is not the end.
Jesus came to end the death curse, restore us to God by cancelling our sin debt, so death is no longer winning because “was dead” is totally possible. Death lost! Though we will all die (Hebrews 9:27), and that death is from our sin, we can have empty graves just like Jesus (Colossians 2:13-14).
Often this newspaper column (converted to a blog post), Religious Thoughts, is situated next to the Obituaries. It’s sobering for me to see that. Here are words of hope to defeat death, make peace with God, and live forever, placed right next to faces of our local dead. Did they know, really know Jesus, and now see Him eye to eye (2 Corinthians 5), or not (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9)?
Someday, you’ll be wheeled out, your picture next to this column. How is it that you know you’re taking this same trip and make no reservations? Friend, take some time and read the New Testament. Find a modern translation and read just two of the 27 books…the Gospel of John and Romans, and see if it rings true.
Read each book slowly, thoughtfully, and in one sitting. John’s Gospel is only 21 short chapters; Romans is less, only 16 quick chapters. At the most, it will take you two hours. Two words that rarely go together, “was dead,” hang in the balance, your balance.
But before you start, ask God to show you if this is true, if He’s real, and if Jesus did in fact rise from the dead. That’s it. Just ask Him to open your eyes, and see if His Spirit won’t lead you to Himself. The prophet Jeremiah wrote these inspired words in the Old Testament, “If you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find Me (chapter 29, verse 13).”
That’s a promise from God to you. If you really want to miss out on death, and say, “I was dead,” then truly seeking Him will result in finding Him. He promised to reveal Himself to you. All it takes is a speck of faith to put death in your past…tense.
I sure miss my three brothers, and my folks. Death is so horrible. Praise God He rescued us so we can enjoy Him forever in Paradise and can say, like Jesus said in Revelation, “I was dead.” Please be sure to accept His free gift (Ephesians 2:8-9). Eternity looms….